Given that we had to get up early for each of the last two nights (not counting the usual 5am wake-ups of each day of the work week), we allowed ourselves to sleep in until about 7:30am.
When we awoke, we could look out the window and see something vastly different from our previous stay at the Inn – morning sun! It also didn’t take long for us to start feeling the heat of the day as well.
A little after 8am, we went downstairs of the Harmony building for breakfast. It was there that we once again got re-acquainted with the owner Lenny Sutton as well as the lady who works at the nearby on-site Wailani Spa.
I could tell by the way that Lenny introduced himself that he didn’t remember us – even after Julie asked him if he remembered us from three weeks ago. More than anything, it’s probably more indicative of the quantity of guests Lenny sees at his property or how not-so-memorable we are.
In any case, we got acquainted with a couple from Seattle as well as a lady from Melbourne, Australia. We especially enjoyed our conversation with the Australian lady, which primarily centered around the sugar-rich American foods and obesity. She was especially amused when she learned that I listen to Triple J Radio, which is a non-commercial Australian Rock Station.
“Ha! My kids listen to it,” she told me.
After breakfast, Julie and I packed up and loaded up the car. That was when we saw Raquel again, who recognized us (at least someone here remembered us from last time).
Just before 9:30am, we took the opportunity to enjoy the waterfall in the glorious morning light for one last time. It was already hot and there were still a few more mosquitoes around, which got Julie frazzled as she had already gotten several bites on her hands and feet. So despite the heat of the morning, Julie kept her red jacket on to avoid getting bit further.
So we hastily took our photos before we returned to the car at 10am and headed out. The agenda for today was to take another look at Volcanoes National Park under the better weather. Last year, it was raining and drizzling during our stay in the park.
We eventually ended up at the visitor center of the National Park at a little after 11am. We thought it was a bit strange that there was no one working at the entry gate at the time. It was even more strange that the nearby Visitor Center was closed. The reason was that there was a high concentration of noxious sulfur dioxide in the air.
In any case, we checked out the rim of the great Kilauea Crater before we headed to the Chain of Craters Road. But we had to go back towards the visitor center before accessing the road from the east because the western loop access was closed due to the bad air quality.
I guess that’s yet another indication that the lava flows could not be seen by foot on this day – much to the disappointment of other tourists who were lured by the flashy advertisements.
“This was not what we signed up for,” lamented one elderly lady whom we overheard.
Nonetheless, we came and saw once again the Holei Sea Arch. This time, it was under sunny skies and clear waters. However the waves were still strong and still pounded away at the steep coastline. We didn’t entertain any notion of seeing active lava flows so we didn’t spend very much time here.
After leaving the Holei Sea Arch vicinity at around 12:30pm, we visited the rim Kilauea Iki on the way out. The smaller (“iki”) crater was interesting in that there were people walking within it. We didn’t do it, but they provided nice scale on photographs showing the immensity of the “little” crater.
By about 1:30pm, we had finally left Hawaii Volcanoes NP and swung around the southern part of the island en route to Kona.
Given that it was a free day, Julie (being the coffee drinker) was determined to find the 100% Kona Coffee. We ended up seeking out this hard-to-find German-owned place called the Bay View Farm, which was aptly named for its view. However, it was the referral by the Blue Bible (i.e. the ubiquitous Revealed book) that brought us here.
We arrived a little at around 3:15pm. After getting the sought-after coffee, we managed to weave our way back to the main highway and return to the Outrigger Resort a little before 4pm. This time, they assigned us to the other side of the building, and Julie hated it.
I wasn’t nuts about the noise on this side either as we were right above the lobby area, but I figured we ought to just suck it up for the night.
We ended up spending our last night on the Big Island at some restaurant at the rather beat up Kona Inn. It was clear that this place was more about the location than about the food. Nonetheless, we did get to see a pretty sunset, and it was nice little ending to our little do over of our failed Big Island trip three weeks ago.
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